Lassa Fever: Minister Declares War on Rats
By Danjuma Ibrahim in Kaduna
Poised to chase Lassa Fever out of Nigeria, the Minister of Environment ,Dr.Mohammed Mahmud has urged Nigerians to declare total war against rats and other dangerous rodents that mingled in Nigerian homes.
He said in Kaduna on Sunday, that his ministry was keen in ensuring Nigerian environment was kept clean and tidy for the healthful living of the people.
Dr Mahmud spoke at the Flagg off of the National Environmental Response Campaign to Eradicate Lassa Fever which was held at Rigasa Kaduna.
He said the Federal Ministry of Environment is worried by the increase in the
prevalence of Lassa Fever in Nigeria which continues to claim the
invaluable lives of Nigerians.
“When I addressed the Press last month in Abuja, on the outbreak of the fatal hemorrhagic fever ravaging across our Country, I mentioned that the Environmental component of Lassa Fever control needed to be utilized. Very importantly, I promised the Nigerian people that my
Ministry was preparing some actionable interventions for the prevention
of Lassa Fever. Today, marks the beginning of a robust plan focusing on primary prevention through sound environmental sanitation.”
” This and other interventions are aimed at preventing in addition to Lassa Fever,
an array of Environmental sanitation-related diseases like Cholera, Malaria, Typhoid and Hepatitis.
The Ministry is keen in ensuring that the Nigerian Environment is kept clean and tidy for the healthful living of the good people of Nigeria being the most effective tool of preventing diseases notably, infectious
and communicable diseases. The physical environment, being the most
significant determinant of health undoubtedly plays an important role in
disease causation. The nature, type and location of our premises
influence the survival of disease vectors in both the urban and rural
communities in Nigeria. Vecor-borne diseases including Corona Virus
Disease (COVID), Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and Lassa Fever among
other viral zoonotic and infectious diseases depend on a vehicle to
survive and be transmitted. For Lassa Fever, the virus only develops
when it enters its intermediate host – the multi mammate rat from which
point it becomes infective to man.”
“Other than the mammalian rat, various rat species are known to
cause diseases to man by even some mechanical action of contaminating
foods. Our communities unfortunately are fertile breeding grounds for rodents due to poor environmental sanitation which ensures sustained
sources of food for rodents. While not losing sight on the necessity to
starve the rodents of food, it has become extremely important to ensure
the reduction of rodent population through sustainable use of safe,
effective and easy-to-handle rodenticides in a chemical method called
“Today’s flag off therefore promises to be the entry point for a
Deratization curtailing the breeding of rodents especially
the mammalian rat. This is the aim of the exercise which has been
designed for execution by Environmental Health Officers of the
Ministry, their counterparts from Kaduna State and those from across
the Local Government system of the State as well as volunteers from the
Community. I give assurances about the safety of the rodenticides to be
used and would like to seek the cooperation of the people of not only the
premises to be treated, but the Rigasa community as a whole for the
success of this exercise.
“This ceremony, Ladies and gentlemen, signals the coming of a new
dawn in Environmental Health control of housing in Nigeria as the
Deratization programme will be taken by the Ministry to as many states
as possible. It is my wish that State Governments will cascade this
further down in such a manner that we witness rapid reduction of
rodent infestation in our homes, offices, schools, hospitality and
commercial centres. As I look forward to receiving a very high rate of
rodent kills at the end of this exercise, I would like to charge the
professionals executing this activity to observe high sense of safety
precautions especially in the disposal of killed pests.”
“Furthermore and going forward, the Ministry will utilize the
outcome of this exercise to develop workable tools in determining extent
of rodents infestation and most potent control methods at the house-
hold and community levels and will gradually improve by regular pest…..surveillance involving mapping, preventing infestation and disinfesting
where needed./We hope to set up a comprehensive vector control
programme utilizing a robust data base for effective monitoring and
evaluation as contained in the National Environmental Sanitation Policy,
2005 which is under review.”
“This programme, I would like to assure you is borne out of my
desire to walk the talk towards implementing the ONE HEALTH
Concept and achieving its goals of providing sustainable health care
through synergy of Health, Agriculture and Environment Sectors.
Through this, we as a Ministry will continue to collaborate with relevant
Ministries in making a success out of One Health.”
“May I at this juncture emphasize that the Ministry is further taking
measures geared towards delivering to Nigerians, Environmental
commitments of the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s
NEXT LEVEL Agenda.
In conclusion, I would like to appreciate the Government and
good people of Kaduna State for supporting our Ministry’s Programmes each time the need arises.’,the Minister noted.